Inuit - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Inuit - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Traditional law[edit]

Inuit traditional laws are anthropologically different from Western law concepts. Customary law was thought non-existent in Inuit society before the introduction of the Canadian legal systemHoebel, in 1954, concluded that only 'rudimentary law' existed amongst the Inuit. Indeed, prior to about 1970, it is impossible to find even one reference to a Western observer who was aware that any form of governance existed among any Inuit,[108]however, there was a set way of doing things that had to be followed:
  • maligait refers to what has to be followed
  • piqujait refers to what has to be done
  • tirigusuusiit refers to what has to be avoided
If an individual's actions went against the tirigusuusiit, maligait or piqujait, the angakkuq (shaman) might have to intervene, lest the consequences be dire to the individual or the community.[109]
We are told today that Inuit never had laws or "maligait". Why? They say because they are not written on paper. When I think of paper, I think you can tear it up, and the laws are gone. The laws of the Inuit are not on paper.
—Mariano Aupilaarjuk, Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, Perspectives on Traditional Law[110]